Is Behringer Neutron the closest to Subtractor?

This forum is for anything not Reason related, if you just want to talk about other stuff. Please keep it friendly!
RobC
Posts: 1848
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 27 Mar 2024

Behringer has these neat little, compact semi-modular analog synthesizers, which have a really good price, too.

I mainly considered Neutron, because it seems closest to Reason's Subtractor. Polyphony isn't an issue, since I could always just record things separately. I'd at least make use of my Focusrite Scarlett Solo's instrument input, too, instead of just the microphone pre-amp.

I planned a project for vinyl, as a self-challenge, and these seem ideal to keep most synthesizing, and maybe even some processing as "analog" as possible. I'm sure filter and distortion can be used for processing on these semi-modular synths. It seems useful for melodic synth sounds, SFX, and drums - in other words everything needed.

I also looked at the K-2, but that seemed rather further away from Subtractor, than Neutron, but has extra/different features in exchange.

I know, there are many other in these synth series, so I very much welcome any information on these (including their uses, - such as synthesizing, processing external sound sources - what Reason devices are the closest, etc). Thank you in advance!

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 3759
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Norway

Post 27 Mar 2024

I've only ever used the input to process drums. Depending on the music style and Sonic aesthetic you're after, it may or may not work for you. I personally mainly only ever use it for bass, bypassing entirely the drive and the delay. I find the character of the neutron would be more suited for dirtier, harder, darker styles than what I make.

User avatar
mimidancer
Posts: 667
Joined: 30 Sep 2021

Post 27 Mar 2024

Any of those synths are easy to program like the Subtractor. The oscillators in the Neutron are based on the Curtis CEM3340. Those were used in synths Prophet 5 Rev 3 and the SH101. The Neutron is quite flexible if you don't mind the workflow. I have many Behringer pieces in my collection and they sound great. If you want to save some money I'd recommend the Behringer KOBOL EXPANDER. Two osc with blendable waveforms(like morphing) Noise generator and many patching points. It is about 100US less than the Neutron. The Kobol osc is based on the SSM2030. The 2030 was used in Prophet-5 Rev 1 & 2 along with many Korg synths and Kobol. But I am way off track. What you know from the Subtractor will translate well to almost all subtractive synth. I will add there is something inherently fun about making a sound and recording it. You can't go back and change it later unless you want to rerecord it. Oldschool. I am not a pro-level producer like many here. So when I say get the Kobol. Do your homework.But dude, get the Kobol.

RobC
Posts: 1848
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 27 Mar 2024

PhillipOrdonez wrote:
27 Mar 2024
I've only ever used the input to process drums. Depending on the music style and Sonic aesthetic you're after, it may or may not work for you. I personally mainly only ever use it for bass, bypassing entirely the drive and the delay. I find the character of the neutron would be more suited for dirtier, harder, darker styles than what I make.
Luckily, I like challenges, so I'm cool with adapting to the instrument's character.

What kind of processing did you use on drums?

Analog delay though? Tops if I can create a comb filter with it, then I'd use it.

But yeah, features are more important for me than sound this time, where synthesizing has priority.

RobC
Posts: 1848
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 27 Mar 2024

mimidancer wrote:
27 Mar 2024
Any of those synths are easy to program like the Subtractor. The oscillators in the Neutron are based on the Curtis CEM3340. Those were used in synths Prophet 5 Rev 3 and the SH101. The Neutron is quite flexible if you don't mind the workflow. I have many Behringer pieces in my collection and they sound great. If you want to save some money I'd recommend the Behringer KOBOL EXPANDER. Two osc with blendable waveforms(like morphing) Noise generator and many patching points. It is about 100US less than the Neutron. The Kobol osc is based on the SSM2030. The 2030 was used in Prophet-5 Rev 1 & 2 along with many Korg synths and Kobol. But I am way off track. What you know from the Subtractor will translate well to almost all subtractive synth. I will add there is something inherently fun about making a sound and recording it. You can't go back and change it later unless you want to rerecord it. Oldschool. I am not a pro-level producer like many here. So when I say get the Kobol. Do your homework.But dude, get the Kobol.
Regarding Subtractor, I rather like possibilities, such as being able to combine phase offset modulation, FM, and ring modulation at the same time. But I'm fine with a few tradeoffs as long as it gets close in features. Again, monophony is not a big deal.
Limitations actually inspire and motivate me, so the recording, workflow, etc. are not a problem.
I saw the KOBOL, but I don't mind spending a little extra for more features. But I'll look more deeply into it.

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 3759
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Norway

Post 27 Mar 2024

RobC wrote:
27 Mar 2024
PhillipOrdonez wrote:
27 Mar 2024
I've only ever used the input to process drums. Depending on the music style and Sonic aesthetic you're after, it may or may not work for you. I personally mainly only ever use it for bass, bypassing entirely the drive and the delay. I find the character of the neutron would be more suited for dirtier, harder, darker styles than what I make.
Luckily, I like challenges, so I'm cool with adapting to the instrument's character.

What kind of processing did you use on drums?

Analog delay though? Tops if I can create a comb filter with it, then I'd use it.

But yeah, features are more important for me than sound this time, where synthesizing has priority.
I've used the drive to process drum hits.

The BBdelay is super noisy and gritty. Again, depending on your style it might be desirable 🤷‍♂️

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 3759
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Norway

Post 27 Mar 2024


RobC
Posts: 1848
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 27 Mar 2024

PhillipOrdonez wrote:
27 Mar 2024
RobC wrote:
27 Mar 2024


Luckily, I like challenges, so I'm cool with adapting to the instrument's character.

What kind of processing did you use on drums?

Analog delay though? Tops if I can create a comb filter with it, then I'd use it.

But yeah, features are more important for me than sound this time, where synthesizing has priority.
I've used the drive to process drum hits.

The BBdelay is super noisy and gritty. Again, depending on your style it might be desirable 🤷‍♂️
Hmm, that delay might rather be useful when making SFX, much like the guy used it in your link.
But then again, if it makes the sound dirty, that can be used for creating interesting stereo effects.

The 12 dB/O is not my preference for bass, but the fun part is, that I guess we can record something, feed it back in, and apply just the filter and envelope, to make it 24 dB/O. I could be wrong.

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 3759
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Norway

Post 27 Mar 2024

You could hear the tones and character of the synth there at its dirtiest, so if you dig , you won’t be disappointed. I think for the price it is a great synth, and in better hands than mine it is probably very useful!

RobC
Posts: 1848
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 28 Mar 2024

PhillipOrdonez wrote:
27 Mar 2024
You could hear the tones and character of the synth there at its dirtiest, so if you dig , you won’t be disappointed. I think for the price it is a great synth, and in better hands than mine it is probably very useful!
It definitely sounds suitable for basses with character, too. But I would also explore its softer side.

That said, I read Proton is around the corner with more features.

rorystorm
Posts: 796
Joined: 06 Jul 2019

Post 29 Mar 2024

I've had a Neutron for a year or so. It's... alright. I mean, no, it's actually pretty good. The layout is very well designed, very efficient, and the patchbay is excellent for its size. It sounds good and you can get a surprising variety of sounds from out of it, especially when you start patching around. It also has a great software companion which you can use to sync it to the DAW and change the order of LFO waves you can scan through. One thing is that it's quite hard to tune as the pitch knobs are REALLY sensitive and physically quite big so it's easy to knock it out of tune - though the software has a tuning section which is excellent and I wish more synths had that feature. Mostly I use it for bread and butter analogue sounds which it's pretty good at.

On the downside, Behringer. There's a lot of controversy around their business, media and labour practices and I think quite a bit of it is justifiable.

If you want alternatives..... okay, so I also have an Arturia Minibrute 2S which covers a lot of the same territory - has a similar patchbay for starters, although 4 separate stackable waves a little like a Juno for Osc 1 and sine, saw or square for Osc 2, rather than the two morphing wave oscillators in the Neutron. But Osc 1's waves are modifiable and it has a kind of drive/feedback circuit called Brute Factor which is great. It's a bit pricier but IMO it's a better synth, better sounds, chunkier filter. Cheaper but excellent if you can find it is the Dreadbox Typhon, a beautiful analogue synth with morphing oscillators and great effects and modulation. Sounds incredible.

HOWEVER tbh none of these are that equivalent to the Subtractor. Maybe I have a soft spot for it because that's the synth I learned synthesis on back in the day when Reason 1 was first released. But I think it's really under rated these days. The best thing about it is the range of waveforms that you can modify with the Phase parameter. Plus it's not actually analogue and sounds much more like a digital synth to me. The closest piece of hardware I personally own to the Subtractor is the Waldorf Blofeld even though it's a wavetable synth - it's really deep for the price. I bought mine new for around US$300 (about NZ$650). There's a lot of menu diving but it's a shit ton of fun to play around with. So if you're looking for something that's close to the Subtractor I'd say have a really good look at it. The filters are digital so it definitely has that early 2000s game sound track brightness but I quite like that myself. And it has great ring modulation and FM on the filter as well as the oscillators. It's a classic for a reason.

Sorry that was a bit of a rant!

RobC
Posts: 1848
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 02 Apr 2024

rorystorm wrote:
29 Mar 2024
I've had a Neutron for a year or so. It's... alright. I mean, no, it's actually pretty good. The layout is very well designed, very efficient, and the patchbay is excellent for its size. It sounds good and you can get a surprising variety of sounds from out of it, especially when you start patching around. It also has a great software companion which you can use to sync it to the DAW and change the order of LFO waves you can scan through. One thing is that it's quite hard to tune as the pitch knobs are REALLY sensitive and physically quite big so it's easy to knock it out of tune - though the software has a tuning section which is excellent and I wish more synths had that feature. Mostly I use it for bread and butter analogue sounds which it's pretty good at.

On the downside, Behringer. There's a lot of controversy around their business, media and labour practices and I think quite a bit of it is justifiable.

If you want alternatives..... okay, so I also have an Arturia Minibrute 2S which covers a lot of the same territory - has a similar patchbay for starters, although 4 separate stackable waves a little like a Juno for Osc 1 and sine, saw or square for Osc 2, rather than the two morphing wave oscillators in the Neutron. But Osc 1's waves are modifiable and it has a kind of drive/feedback circuit called Brute Factor which is great. It's a bit pricier but IMO it's a better synth, better sounds, chunkier filter. Cheaper but excellent if you can find it is the Dreadbox Typhon, a beautiful analogue synth with morphing oscillators and great effects and modulation. Sounds incredible.

HOWEVER tbh none of these are that equivalent to the Subtractor. Maybe I have a soft spot for it because that's the synth I learned synthesis on back in the day when Reason 1 was first released. But I think it's really under rated these days. The best thing about it is the range of waveforms that you can modify with the Phase parameter. Plus it's not actually analogue and sounds much more like a digital synth to me. The closest piece of hardware I personally own to the Subtractor is the Waldorf Blofeld even though it's a wavetable synth - it's really deep for the price. I bought mine new for around US$300 (about NZ$650). There's a lot of menu diving but it's a shit ton of fun to play around with. So if you're looking for something that's close to the Subtractor I'd say have a really good look at it. The filters are digital so it definitely has that early 2000s game sound track brightness but I quite like that myself. And it has great ring modulation and FM on the filter as well as the oscillators. It's a classic for a reason.

Sorry that was a bit of a rant!
I don't even have the Neutron yet, but I already study the manual and watched youtube videos. It's pretty crazy that users can open it up and calibrate the BBDelay.

Note that the system can be reprogrammed, to turn the tuning knobs off, if I read correctly (read until 3 AM, so I was pretty hyped up about it).

It's important for me to have everything hands-on - that's one of the reasons I looked into analog synthesizers.
All the hard-wired parts, then the patch bay, some "hidden" menus/settings are already pretty crazy; but then the little easter egg about the delay (under the hood of the synth) and system programming possibilities keep surprising me.

At this price point, it seems like a total killer analog synth.
I was happy to find out that we can do FM and Ring Mod. Hell, we might even be able to do multi-operator FM. After all, the filter can self-oscillate. Maybe the LFO can be used there somehow as well, but not sure. Again, I studied it until late night.

While I miss Subtractor's phase (offset) modulation possibilities (though we have PWM at least), due to limited number of oscillators I guess, it looks like it can do some things that Subtractor can't. Especially things like oscillator synch.

The real life limitations are kind of a blessing. No need to stick to bread and butter. We can play live and record multiple takes, then place them around when mixing, like an orchestra. Or multiple takes to simulate strings (like with a double bass - if I understand it correctly - we could record 4 takes of a bassline, and layer them as one instrument; and then do this procedure as many times as we wish).

It seems to have nearly everything needed for creating a proper analog production for vinyl.
Even the filters can be used tons of things, such as making shelving EQ, crossovers, or a band EQ. Of course, for that we need parallel processing - but luckily, Dan Worrall has tutorials on this on youtube. Especially his early video on making an analog EQ, linear phase. I wonder if we can do that with a crossover. Although that probably would only be 24 dB/O, and nothing less.

Compression would still be a problem, but a bit of (parallel) soft clipping and amplitude modulated with an LFO can help a bit. Darn K-2 has the envelope follower.
That said, if I record MIDI notes and velocity, or cheat a bit and make Reason get the groove of recordings, then Neutron's Envelopes can be set up to do some fake compression.

I don't know about what happened around Behringer, but what they created here, is golden. I'm 99% sure I want it.

All in all, there's so much to Neutron. It will be a unique sound, an inspiring experience with some challenges, and surprising things to learn.

Regarding the other synths, there are two problems: either it's too pricey for now, or it's not available here at the moment. Still, having a Neutron for starters can't hurt.

It's not so much about sound, as it is about features, that I wanted something alike to Subtractor. It's still my favorite synthesizer in Reason. I don't need a real life clone I guess, just something that covers most of Subtractor's core synthesizing features.

Hmm, btw, if it would be possible to convert audio to CV with Neutron, then an analog envelope follower could be created (maybe... not sure, I gotta buy a Neutron first, lol).

  • Information
  • Who is online

    Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot] and 8 guests